Dec 1, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus may have been in the U.S. in December 2019

Illustration of an open door with a virus on the other side of it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The coronavirus was likely in the U.S. earlier than scientists initially believed — and weeks before it was officially identified in China, according to a study by government scientists published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The big picture: "The findings significantly strengthen evidence suggesting the virus was spreading around the world well before public health authorities and researchers became aware, upending initial thinking about how early and quickly it emerged," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Details: CDC scientists found evidence of coronavirus infection in blood samples collected by the American Red Cross from residents in nine states between Dec. 13 and Jan. 17.

  • The scientists found antibodies in 39 samples from California, Oregon and Washington state collected between Dec. 13 and Dec. 16, and in 67 samples from Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin or Iowa, and Connecticut or Rhode Island collected between Dec. 30 and Jan. 17.
  • The first coronavirus case in the U.S. was reported on Jan. 19.

My thought bubble: Even though the pandemic has consumed our lives for the better part of a year, we still have so much to learn about it.

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